Israeli Education Policies as a Tool for the Ethnic Manipulation of the Arab Druze: Israel and the Occupied Syrian Golan

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This thesis investigates decisions and processes of ethnic manipulation within the educationsystem in Israel using archival documents, textbooks, and interviews to guide its arguments. The paper studies taught in Druze schools in Israel and the Occupied Syrian Golan OSG, documents interviews of Druze teachers and activists, and compares Israel's educational policies with international laws. Next, it examines the particular conditions of the Syrians in the Golan as an occupied people in the proximity of the Syrian civil war. The author argues that the state of Israel employs tactics of minoritization and ethnic manipulation against its Arab Druze communities in the OSG and Israel proper in order to maintain its ethnocratic regime. Institutionalized efforts of manipulation include the separation of Druze from the Arab school system, the construction of separate Druze holidays, and mandatory conscription to the Israeli army. Through these tactics, Israel has misappropriated Druze agency, undermined their identity, and manipulated their ethnic heritage. Within the education system, Israel's policies have created a Druze community that is uninformed about its history, disconnected from its culture, and confused about its identity. While Syrians in the Golan do not serve in the Israeli army, the effects of identity suppression have been magnified in the region due to the Syrian civil war and the consequent closure of their (limited) access to Syria. International law requires Israel, as a signatory to several covenants and partner in multiple treaties, to provide an education that preserves and promotes the culture and history of ethnic minorities—especially peoples in occupied territories. This includes an accurate representation of the borders of the State, inclusion of notable Arab Druze historical figures, and an education about their Arab culture and heritage. Finally, this thesis argues that while several international covenants and treaties are relevant to the acceptable cultural and historical representation for minorities and indigenous groups, the need to specify what that means remains. Adding General Comments and having the Special Rapporteur on Education visit Israel, combined with increased pressure from non-governmental organizations, would ultimately increase the state's accountability for and adherence to those conventions.

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